In the Past
There has not been a major earthquake in recent memory anywhere in Tompkins
County. This region of New York State and, in fact, the country, is rather
boring from a tectonic perspective.
Risk to Tompkins County Residents
The overall risk for earthquakes in Tompkins County is low. Some estimates
hold that we will experience one earthquake about every three years. These
earthquakes are small - with a magnitude of 1 or less - and only last a
few minutes at most, so most people don't even feel them.
This may not seem like much risk, but even small earthquakes occuring
seldom mean there is some risk of a larger earthquake. It's best to be
How to prepare
- Every family member should have a flashlight and a pair of sturdy (no
open heels or toes!) shoes by their bed. If an earthquake hits, lights
may be broken and glass and debris may cover the floors.
- Have your emergency supply kit ready, and review your family communication plan.
- If you are indoors:
- "Drop, cover, and hold on!" Drop to the floor, get under a table
or a desk, and hold on to the table leg. This will prevent debris
from falling on you.
- If you have heard about the "Triangle of Life," by Doug
Copp, disregard it. Click
here for details.
- If you do not have a table or desk handy, crouch against an interior
wall, away from windows and furniture that may fall, such as bookcases.
- Wait for the shaking to stop before trying to leave the building.
- PLEASE NOTE: the old advice to stand under a doorframe
in an earthquake is not recommended, for three reasons:
- It is extremely difficult to stand during an earthquake,
even a slight one.
- If there are several people in the room, you will
not all fit in the doorframe safely.
- Doors tend to swing wildly in an earthquake. The
door may swing and hit you, causing injury!
- If you are outdoors:
- Move to a location away from trees, buildings, lightposts, and
- Get low to the ground, and wait for the shaking to stop before
- If you are driving:
- Stop the car! Pull over in a clear spot: away from power lines,
- Stay buckled in and wait for the shaking to stop before moving.